Oak Hall School

Speed on Campus Kills

Written by Mr. Mike Martinez

When you drive faster than 15 mph on campus, there are several things that can happen. All but one of them is bad.

When you speed: We have a 500 foot stretch of road leading from the entrance to the Lower School. If you go double the speed limit, you will be able to get your child out of the car 11.4 seconds faster.   

Middle School? Another 200 feet of speeding gives you another 4.54 seconds advantage over your non-speeding compatriots.

Upper School? 700 additional feet stretches your advantage over non-speeders to 27 seconds! Even with the speed bump, you’ll still have a decisive advantage.  

All this is facetious, of course, but it amazes me that at the end of a 5 to 30 mile (or more) drive, we still have students, parents and faculty who think that the last .094 of a mile is pivotal in getting the child to school on time, or an adult to an appointment or work.  

You will spend more time putting on your shoes in the morning than you will save by speeding on campus.  

Distance and reaction:

There is no such thing as an average reaction time while driving. It includes factors such as the mental processing time (hey, that’s a kid!), the movement time (slam on brakes) and the device response time (will the car stop in time after I hit the brakes?) But many studies conclude that the average reaction time required to hit the brakes is 1.5 seconds. And that assumes you are not talking on the cell phone or to your kids, because none of us do that, right?  

1.5 seconds means that at 30 mph, your car will travel 66 feet before you can hit the brakes. For reference, 66 feet is the length of the Lower School Media Center. And that’s just the distance before your braking starts, which will be magnified by every mile per hour over the speed limit. A good rule of thumb is that your total stopping distance is twice your reaction time. At 30mph, you won’t stop for 132 feet. 

Your car weighs from 2,900 pounds (Toyota Camry) to 6,000 pounds (Cadillac Escalade) or more. Hitting a child at any speed can be crippling or lethal.  

The next time you enter the Lower School parking lot, enter the paved road leading to the Middle School or accelerate out of the Upper School traffic circle, please remember this: The extra speed just isn’t worth it!  

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